VET Student Guide 2020

VET Student Guide


Charles Darwin University is a leader in Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the Northern Territory and South-East Asia.

Having won the Northern Territory VET Training Provider of the Year three years in a row (2017,2018 and 2019), we are also proud of our students who have gone on to win national awards; Kimberly Brewster 2018 Australian Trainee of the Year, and Rory Milner 2019 Australian Apprentice of the Year.

We're passionate about lifelong learning and empowering our students to build satisfying careers.

We celebrate those students who have only just begun to pursue their chosen careers, and who are committed to supporting their communities and industries to build satisfying careers.

Student success is the unwavering goal of our staff. Our dedicated and passionate VET trainers and support teams are some of the best in the business and they work tirelessly to provide students with the best learning experiences and outcomes. We're committed to building strong and supportive relationships and ensuring that your experience as a student at CDU is successful and fulfilling.

Ashar Ehsan
Pro Vice-Chancellor
Faculty of Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Study VET at CDU

As the largest Vocational Education and Training (VET) provider in the Northern Territory, we invite you to explore the range of courses we have on offer.

At CDU we have a critical role in developing, delivering and supporting high quality training programs aligned with the NT economy's workforce development labour requirements. Integral to this are the strategic partnerships we've forged with industry, Indigenous communities, the NT Government, and other educational providers. We're also aligned with the governments strategies to respond to skill shortages faced by major resource development and infrastructure projects.

We have over 20,000 students enrolled in VET, Higher Education, and Research. Our staff operate from 5 campuses, delivery hubs, workplaces and remote communities across the NT, as well as Sydney.

We're one of only a handful of universities in Australia that provide both Higher Education and VET courses, and we believe that every learner should be offered alternative ways to access education and to acquire universal skills, qualities and understandings.

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Legislation, regulations and standards applicable to CDU students

During your studies at CDU, government legislations, regulations and standards may apply to your studies. The Governance Document Library is CDU's central location for accessing policies, procedures and guidelines that comply with the various requirements from government legislations, regulations and standards that may apply to your studies. The Governance Document Library can be accessed by visiting the Strategic Services and Governance website.

Under the Northern Territory Education Act, it is compulsory for all Territory students to complete Year 10 and then participate in education, training and/or employment until the age of 17.

If you have completed year 10 but have not turned 17, you must participate in an eligible option on a full-time basis in one of the following:

> participate in approved education or training

> if you are aged 15  years or older

      • paid employment with a minimum average of 25 hours per week
      • a combination of approved education and training and paid employment

If you have completed Year 10 and want to study at Charles Darwin University instead of school, you must provide evidence of having completed Year 10. The NT Department of Education must also approve your studies at CDU. You must fill in a notification of arrangement for. The form must be completed and approved before you can leave school.

If you are enrolled as a school student, you may undertake VET training under the conditions relating to VET for secondary school students.

For more information, visit the Northern Territory Government's Education and learning website.

W:  NTG - Age your child attends school
W:  CDU Strategic Services and Governance
W:  NTG - Department of Trade, Business and Innovation - Publications
W:  Education Act 2015

Types of VET courses

At CDU we recognise that students have other commitments in addition to your studies and that your studies need to fit around these. Our delivery of courses is flexible and varies according to demand, location and circumstances. There are full-time, part-time and online study options depending on the course. The wide range of courses and study levels available also means that there are opportunities to progress all the way to university level within CDU. Visit our course catalogue to view the full range of courses we offer.

Certificate 1

Courses cover base level skills for entry into the workforce and/or further learning. They are usually offered in remote locations or through schools.

Certificate II

Courses are introductory level courses that provide basic knowledge and skills, and prepare students for entry-level work positions or apprenticeships in a variety of industries or for further learning.

A Certificate II demonstrates to a potential employer that you're actively interested in their industry.

Certificate III

Courses provide theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for a specific area of work or further learning. This level of qualification is ideal for those wanting an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Certificate IV

Courses provide theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for specialised and/or skilled work or further learning. Designed for supervisory and management positions, this level of course is ideal for those who want to advance their careers in the industry they already work in, or further develop skills and knowledge acquired through previous study. Successful achievement at this level may provide up to 40 credit points towards an undergraduate higher education award in the same field or discipline.


Diploma courses provide specialised knowledge and skills for skilled/paraprofessional work or further learning by developing broad and in-depth skills in professional, technical or creative fields. Skills taught include planning, development and management. Successful achievement at this level may provide up to 80 credit points towards an undergraduate higher education award in the same field or discipline.

Short courses

Short courses can be a group of units that lead to a particular skill or non-accredited course that focuses on a particular skill or licensing requirement.

W:  CDU VET short courses

Enrolling in diploma or higher-level courses

If you are enrolling in a diploma or higher-level course, you will have to meet the entry-level requirements for the course. For more information contact your industry team Customer Service Officer or visit the CDU VET Student Loans website.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships provide nationally recognised qualifications and on-the-job experience. This is a great way for you to get a head start in your chosen career or retrain for the career you have always wanted.

It combines time at work with training and can be completed full-time, part-time or while you are still at school. You must have an employer and you must lodge a contract of training with Australian Apprenticeships NT.

School based apprenticeships

School Based Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBAT) enables school students to gain a nationally accredited qualification while being employed in their selected area of interest. They can achieve this while completing their Northern Territory Certificate of Education (NTCE). For further information contact your School VET Coordinator or Career Adviser.

W:  Australian Apprenticeships NT
W:  NTG - VET and apprenticeships and traineeships in school

VET for secondary students (VSS)

VSS programs are offered to students as young as 13 years of age who are in school year 9 and continue through the age groups until the end of year 12 senior school.

VET for Secondary Students (VSS) is a highly regulated and managed system of providing  VET programs to students attending secondary schools throughout the Northern Territory. Each year the VET programs that are made available to school students are determined in conjunction with the NT Department of Education (DoE). VET programs that are not included in the VSS offering are generally not available for access by school students.

Special entry requirements must be met for students less than 15 years of age. CDU does not accept students who are younger than 13 years of age.

> Students must be enrolled at school in years 9, 10, 11 or 12 and be 15 years of age when enrolling in any CDU program.

> Consideration is made to allow some year 9 and 10 students who are as young as 13 years at the time of enrolment to access 'Skill Set' programs or full certificate programs that do not exceed level 1. The following applies, however:

      • Underage students will have a letter of support provided by the school principal to attach to the CDU enrolment form.
      • Secondary schools will comply with the CDU Children on University Premises Policy, which requires the secondary school to provide an adult supervisor to accompany the underage student(s) (students younger than 15 years) for the duration of time spent on a CDU campus.

> All VSS students must complete a NT Department of Education compliant VSS Expression of Interest form. This form provides the parent or guardian and school student permission to participate in an adult training environment.

Unique Student Identifier (USI)

It is an Australian Government requirement that all students undertaking nationally recognised training in Australia must provide a Unique Student Identifier (USI) to their Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

A USI is a reference number that gives you access to your USI account. This allows you to see all your training and qualifications gained in Australia from all training providers, conveniently kept together in one location. Creating a USI only takes a few minutes and there is no cost. You create it once and it will stays with you for life.

Your USI must be provided to CDU before you can receive a Statement of Attainment or graduation documents. For more information about USI visit the CDU USI website or create your USI by visiting the USI website.